It's Only Money
While the sky's not the limit for everyone, we can dream can't we? Whether it's jetting off to party in the Bahamas for a day, filling your garage with the latest playthings, or just romancing a significant other in ways that are lavish beyond belief, the Gulfshore offers plenty of live-life-to-the-hilt opportunies. And we created six dreamy scenarios that illustrate the ultimate in the good life.
Build Your Own Boat -- $502, 131
Although Southwest Florida offers a bevy of boat dealers, wouldn't it be fun to have your own built to your specifications? It's a yacht; it's a fishing boat. No, it's a 41-foot sports fisherman created exclusively by Morgan Boats Inc. of Naples. Built to sleep six, including two in the oh-so-spacious stateroom, this custom beauty has teak walls and floors (mahogany is also an option) and packs twin-diesel engines, each with 500 horses, and a cruising speed of 35 knots. The sunken kitchen has all the comforts of home plus a bar. Comfort is also assured with dual air conditioners and a salon filled with the latest electronic gadgets, including a plasma TV and DVD player.
Because it's built for serious fishing, there's a flying bridge equipped with full electronics, including radar, GPS, plotter and a top-of-the-line fishfinder, plus a fishing cockpit with live well and fish box-of course with another steering station-and dual outriggers.
Of course, you'll need a guide to lead you to his or her secret fishing holes. And, you'll also need the equipment and apparel to look the part of the auspicious angler. If tarpon are what you're after, the experts at Miller's Marina on Boca Grande practically guarantee to hook you up.
Stop by and see Mike McComas at Lee Island Outfitters. Not only will he hook you up with a primo rod and reel, he'll also dress you in Ex-officio clothing-not only the greatest fishing garb in the world, but also tres fashionable. And the pants are Teflon-coated! Expect to spend about $1,830.
The boat: about $500,000
Personal fishing guide: $300
Orvis T3 flyrod: $625
Vortex reel: $575
Wonder line: $69
Fly box with saltwater flies: $50
Ex-officio airstrip shirt: $79
Ex-officio amphi convertible pants: $68
Costa Del Mar sunglasses: $159
Columbia river trainers boat sneakers: $67
Andrew Shadetree hat: $39
One Great Golf Game -- $2,029,343.75
Our ultimate golf adventure happens just once a year, and it's exclusively for residents of Norman Estates at Tiburón and their Norman Estates counterparts around the world. For one day each year, residents plunk down just $300 to golf with Greg Norman who drops in -via personal helicopter-on each foursome throughout the outing.
Of course, the entry fee is a mere fraction of the price tag for one of the 27 villas in the exclusive estates, which Jeremy Seabridge, executive president of Medallist Developments, says are now reselling at $2 million.
And, you can't play with a shark without the very best bait. Jeanne Armstrong-Montiel, manager of Zee's Proline Golf, recommends lightweight Maruman Majesty woods and irons, which are computer engineered for zero tolerance, and a set of Titleist ProV balls-the latest rage.
Roger Brownell, owner of Golf & Electric Carriages in Naples, says a $19,000 Hummer-the golf cart version of a Humvee-is the top-of-the-line in golf carts but cautions that most courses ban them. Hey, we have to be somewhat realistic, so we opted for Club Car's L320LX with all the extras-custom carpet, chrome wire spoke basket wheels, a custom hardtop, folding windshield, five-panel rearview mirror, rear ice chest, custom burl wood dash, dashtop drink and utility tray, curtains and a CD player.
A word to you ladies out there: Remember to keep your eye on the ball and not on the Shark.
Home in Norman Estates: $2,000,000
Golf scramble with Greg Norman: $300
Club Car L320LX golf cart: $11,000
Set of Maruman Majesty clubs: $18,000
A dozen Titleist ProV balls: $43.75
Fill Your Garage--$304,800
Whether you fancy yourself a secret agent or a Bond Girl, you'll love the sleek ultra-cool look of the Astin-Martin Vanquish, the preferred car of Agent 007. Of the 400 produced, only 98 will be brought stateside this year, and all are presold. The wait at the Shelton dealership in Naples extends four years. Although the car comes loaded, for another $5,000 or so, you can insure color immortality by having it painted in a color bearing your name, let's say Betty Smith Pink. No other car will ever be painted that color. How's that for exclusivity?
Not willing to wait for the Vanquish and itching to spend a little more? Shelton's Fort Lauderdale location can get its hands on a $6 million Ferrari Cavelino or-for another $2 million-a 1962 330LM or 1967 330P4.
No American garage is complete without the muscle power of a Harley Davidson. The special edition Road King-only a few are available locally-has custom paint, custom chrome and a $28,000 price tag, which makes this machine the royalty of Hogs.
Pedal power more your thing? Naples Cyclery can set you up with a $4,000 road bike. Or if you prefer to pursue your recreation by sea, the GTX 4-tec Sea-doo by Bombardier is the ultimate four-stroke personal watercraft, swears a salesperson at Power Sports of Naples. Of course, most customers buy a pair-and a matching trailer.
Astin-Martin Vanquish, with personalized color: $250,000
Special edition Road King Harley Davidson: $28,000
Road bike: $4,000
Twin Sea-doos by Bombardier: $22,000
Dual trailer: $800
Ultimate Day Trip Day--$18,888
While there's always plenty to do in Southwest Florida, why not jet set for the day to Nassau and the fabulous Ocean Club with another couple? The men can spend the morning hitting the links, while the women luxuriate in the spa-or vice versa. The afternoon is open to relax in a suite or hit the gaming tables at Atlantis.
The flight aboard Jet 1's Falcon 20 takes just about an hour and offers in-flight movies, televisions, etc. Because you plan to dine at the Ocean Club's Courtyard Terrace for lunch and possibly dinner, breakfast on the plane consists of croissants from Wynn's on Fifth and mimosas made with Salon Le Mesnil champagne, picked up at Bacchus of Naples.
A limo wisks you from the airport to the Ocean Club, where golf and nearly four hours of pure pampering in the Ocean Club Spa await. Lunch is accompanied by medium-priced vintages. Dinner on premises includes the very best red and white on the menu-Corton Charlemagne Grand Cru 1994 Bonneau du Matray ($389) and 1982 Pomerol Chateau Petrus ($6,970).
On the return flight, cap off the day with a bottle of 2001 Germain-Robin Anno Domini, an Alambic brandy named by the Robb Report as the world's best spirit.
Flight to Nassau: $7,000
Champagne for mimosas, two bottles: $396
Limo to Ocean Club: $100
Suite at Ocean Club: $975
Bahamian Pathway to Radiance, spa treatment for two: $810
Golf for two: $490
Lunch: $575 (without tax and gratuity)
Dinner: $8,040 (without tax and gratuity)
Limo to airport: $100
The Ultimate Romantic Interlude -- $5,563.80
Really want to woo you're significant other? Just follow our recipe for amore with flowers, chocolates, perfume and dining at some of the area's most romantic restaurants. An appetizer here, an entrée there. Of course, you'll be riding in style in a limousine provided by L.A. Limousine Service. And you'll immediately want to present her with a 4-pound balliton of Godiva chocolate and a stunning bouquet of green Cymbidium blossoms (an exotic bloom that grows on a single large stalk only under exact conditions) hand-wired by Matthew Huddleston at 50-Fifty Floral Art.
Our romantic adventure begins with appetizers at Marie-Michelle's, considered by many as the best waterfront view. Indulge in a jumbo prawn served over baby greens and accompanied by mango chutney. Also order the fresh mozzarella with two-color tomato tower dashed with two infused oils. In keeping with the tropical theme, order a Florida martini-with just the right hint of orange.
Our next stop is Anabelle's, but be sure to ask in advance for one of three private curtained booths upstairs. Many a romantic interlude-proposals, pregnancy announcements, even reunions-have occurred behind the red velvet curtains, says owner Doug Clarke. The tasting menu, priced from $75-$120, offers small-portioned samples of Anabelle's savory fare, and changes regularly so no experience is ever duplicated. If you want the most expensive champagne, consider the 1985 Salon le Mesnil at $325 a bottle. Looking for something more fun? Try the John Paul Gautier Piper Heidsieck Cuvee Speciale, which comes in a red corset designed by the fashion icon ($150).
En route to Captiva Island's Bubble Room-famous for its desserts-surprise her with perfume: Faberge inside, what else, but a Faberge egg. The eggs, available at La Femme Perfumery, are signed and numbered.
At the Bubble Room, may we suggest industrial strength chocolate cake, Jamaican rum cake, and two Bubble coffees-made with Kaluha, Amaretto and Tia Maria?
Enjoy the moonlight beaches as the limo follows a leisurely pace back to the mainland, stopping on the Sanibel Causeway to let you walk hand-in-hand in the sand. The final destination is the newly remodeled La Playa Beach Resort in Naples, where your tower suite awaits, offering a loftier perspective of the Gulf.
Limousine service, seven hours: $610
Godiva chocolate: $124
Marie-Michelle's, appetizers: $37.80 (without tax and gratuity)
Anabelle's, entrée: $565 (without tax and gratuity)
Bubble Room, dessert: $22 (without tax and gratuity)
$avoring the $unset -- $3,500
Who says you have to live on Martha's Vineyard or Cape Cod to enjoy an authentic New England clambake? Southwest Florida's premiere caterers can whip up a picnic-style dinner that's casual yet deserving of white-glove treatment. Our clambake takes a few liberties, however, and is actually more of a clam boil. (Baking the traditional way-in the sand is not good for the environment, plus it makes the clams tough, according to Anne Matthews, co-owners of Matthews & Gardner Catering in Naples.)
Although any beach in Southwest Florida is divine, we choose to end the day on Captiva, one of the more secluded around, simply because it takes a while to get there. And while an intimate concert for eight by Jimmy Buffett would be the perfect accompaniment, we thought music by a string quartet from the Southwest Florida Symphony would offer a unique juxtaposition to the beach setting.
Invite seven of your closest friends to savor the sunset and feast on a Matthews-created menu of clams, shrimp and lobster boiled in a cauldron over a beach-friendly fire and served with tomato bread, and, of course, drawn butter, and several bottles of Cristal champagne. Next, remove the cauldron and finish baking eight individual quails with pan-roasted shallots, accompanied by steamed artichokes with aioli mayonnaise and a fruity Cote du Rhone. Dessert is a scrumptious homemade pound cake topped with fresh strawberries and clotted cream.
Catered dinner for eight: $1,000
Champagne for eight: $900
String quartet, four hours: $1,600